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Monday, September 7, 2015

What Pet Should I Get?

What Pet Should I Get?What Pet Should I Get? by Dr. Seuss
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Note: Some reviewers would try to do their review in the style of Dr Seuss. To respect his memory, I won't even try.

This summer, two books were released that had the same characteristics. Both were by well-known best-selling authors, both were long-lost manuscripts, both were written in the 1950's. But while one book, Go Set a Watchman, was released with hype not seen since Harry Potter, this book was released with much less fanfare.

According to the back of the book, the manuscript of this book was discovered in a box of papers by Dr Seuss' daughter. Dr Seuss, who died in 1991, had apparently started the project, then put it away. The estate of Dr Seuss decided to finish the project and publish it, with much less controversy than Go Set a Watchman. The main things that needed to be finished were the illustrations, which had limited notes from Dr Seuss. Using his other books written about that time, the illustrations were finished, and the book was published.

There isn't much of a plot to this book, but I don't think anyone really expects much of a plot in a Dr Seuss book. Two books of his that were turned into feature films, Cat in the Hat and Grinch, needed to pad the story quite a bit to stretch it to 2 hours. Even the TV specials needed to add music sequences to get a respectable length. I wonder what would happen to this book on TV.

At any rate, the plot, such as it is, revolves around a brother and sister who go to the pet store. Dad has promised to pay for one pet, but no more. Mom said to be home by noon. When the kids get to the store, they fall in love with all the pets. They can't decide. "We need to pick one, or else we may wind up with none!" *Spoiler alert* At the end, they pick a pet and go home. Dr Seuss doesn't say which pet they pick. All we see is a pink basket with two eyes peeking out. The back cover has four animals, each with a check mark next to it. It's an invitation for the kids to pick their own and discuss why.

The publisher notes that this book is a product of its times )the 1950s). Back in the 50s, kids went to a pet store to pick out their pets. Today, it is recommended that kids go to an animal shelter to adopt a rescue. The publisher even supports this, but left the book as Dr Seuss wrote it.

A second thing that makes this a product of its times. The kids are sent to the store by themselves, with the only instruction from Mom to be home by noon. The parents aren't in any of the illustrations, so I assume they're at home (or in the case of Dad, at work. This was the 50s, after all.) This brought to mind the parents in Maryland who let their kids walk home 2 miles from school. They were charged with child neglect and had their kids taken away from them. Even when I was in school, walking home was nothing. As I said, this book is a product of its times.

The book notes that the kids in this book look exactly like the kids in One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. The book wonders if this book could have been prep work for One Fish. We'll never know. All in all, another great book by Dr Seuss. If you have kids, read this along with them. Ask them what kind of pet they would get.

As for me, I had a Chihuahua mix, Waldo growing up. Right now I live in an apartment that doesn't allow pets, so I haven't even thought about it. I may revisit this in the future.

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